Departments and agencies of the compacting states administered all interstate compacts, except boundary ones requiring no administration, until 1921. Subsequently, compact commissions have become responsible for the administration of transportation facility compacts and several regulatory compacts. Currently, thirty-four compacts—particularly criminal justice and service provision ones—are administered by specialized state departments and agencies rather than by compact commissions. All states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands are members of the Interstate Compact for Juveniles. In addition, all state legislatures enacted the now dormant Civil Defense and Disaster Compact. Other compacts with a large membership, including the District of Columbia, are Mental Health (45 states), Corrections (40 states), and Library (34 states).
This chapter examines the experience of selected compacts lacking an implementing commission and their administration by state administrative officers. These compacts deal with important subjects—detainers, children, corrections, emergency management, motor vehicles, mental health, and parole and probation—and typically have less public attention focused on them than facility and regulatory compacts administered by commissions. State officers, of course, could administer the latter compacts, but a political decision was made that facility and regional regulatory compacts should be administered by commissions composed primarily of residents of the concerned regions. Chapter 4, for example, describes the Colorado River Basin Compact administered by administrators of the party states and the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact administered by a commission.